Salut a tous! ( Hello everyone!) My name is Hannah B. Smith, I am a rising junior at USF pursuing a dual degree in both Dance and Communication. In three days, I will take my first journey out of the United States to participate in the USF Dance in Paris Program. I’ve always been someone who loves to be at home or in the immediate presence of loved ones, but for this summer, I decided that this program would substantially advance my dance career in more ways than one. Thanks to the Mark and Kay Orr International Affairs Study Abroad Scholarship, I was able to pursue my education abroad without financial worries.
When I inform people of my quickly approaching trip, there is usually one overarching question asked of me:“Are you excited or nervous?”. I normally reply with a laugh and a vague, “Maybe a little bit,” but to be honest, I am very much of both. As a dance major, the opportunity to witness world-renowned dance companies and take classes from so many different choreographers makes me excited beyond comprehension. Not to mention, the prospect of being in PARIS for a whole month is enough to get me jumping up and down for hours on end. On the other hand, I am also extremely nervous. As a student who thrives on knowing things, the fact that I know next to nothing about what to expect come next Wednesday, scares me. Don’t get me wrong, I can list off plenty of facts about Paris, from the French language, to the aspects of the USF Dance in Paris Program. I’ve drilled French phrases in my mind that I know I’ll need and others that I probably will not. I’ve researched and watched the dance companies and choreographers that we’ll be meeting and dancing with, and I’ve packed, unpacked, and repacked my largest suitcase on my living room floor several times over. But as I’ve found in instances like this before, the only way you can tell how ready you are for an experience is to actually experience it. It is because of this that I am nervous for my trip to Paris. I can prepare as much as my perfectionist self will allow, but none of that will will ever prepare me for the unexpected things that will inevitably arise in my time in Paris. Despite how excited or nervous I am, I am determined to make the most of my study abroad term in Paris, making leaps in my understanding of dance technique and artistic insight. The streets I’ll walk will not be my own, but the memories I make certainly will be. Goodbye, America…bonjour paris!
Until next time,
Au revoir et a bientot!